Innovating Careers: The Best Picks for the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year

The Best Picks for the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year image

📖 Published on: March 5th, 2024

✍️ Updated: March 11th, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


Making a leap in the NBA is a hard task, especially with the long season proving to be a challenge to stay consistent and perform at a high level every single game. But who are the top performers in the NBA this season who have managed to come up with a huge burst to exceed expectations in their games?


What is the Most Improved Player Award?


The MIP is an annual individual award given to a player who has stepped up and made the biggest strides in their game in a season. These are usually players who’ve had a tough run in their previous campaign, only to come up with a much bigger run in the current season where they are later awarded with the MIP trophy in recognition of their efforts when it comes to boosting their team’s chances of winning in the season.


Lauri Markkanen image

Through the 2018-19 season all the way to the 2022-23 season, players who were awarded the Most Improved Player award went on to become All-Stars in the same year. The last winner of the MIP was Lauri Markkanen from the Utah Jazz. The Finnisher averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 44.5% from the field. In the year when he won the MIP, Markkanen was then averaging a whopping 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 50% from the field, including 87.5% from the charity stripe – all while he played 34.4 minutes per night in 66 games.


This proves how much analysis critics have to do before coming up with their vote for the said award. This year is no different as multiple players have done a great job to step up in their games and impact the way for their teams to win. After all, there’s always a player who will rise to the occasion and deliver promising performances for their teams night in and night out.


Who are the Best Picks for the Most Improved Player Award for the 2023-24 Season?


You can say that we are now living in exciting times in the NBA. From impressive scoring galore all the way to massive games from the best players in the league, it does seem that fiery performances are coming in every single game. Some of these big performances have come from the big candidates for the Most Improved Player Award this season.


But who are the best picks to win the Most Improved Player Award for the current campaign?


Tyrese Maxey - Philadelphia 76ers


Tyrese Maxey seems to be the runaway winner of the award for the 2023-24 season. His massive improvement has been fun to watch, and it cannot be denied that his steady growth has shown the league why the Sixers can actually thrive without James Harden. This trade also paved the way for Maxey to take over a much bigger ballhandler role for the team, thus increasing his time with the ball and giving him more offensive freedom to even dictate the plays as the floor general for the team. In turn, his season averages went sky-high.

From averaging 20.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game last season, Maxey is now putting up 26.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game for the Sixers – and all of these are career-highs for him.

Tyrese Maxey image


His stats spectacle does not stop there – Maxey holds two of the 15 50-point scoring games in the 2023-24 season, which vastly improves his case for the MIP. And his extended role has now made him the second man next to reigning MVP Joel Embiid.


Coby White - Chicago Bulls


Coby White image

From a statistical standpoint, Coby White should be the biggest consideration for the Most Improved player Award. From averaging just a meager 9.7 points, 2.8 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 74 games last season, the Bulls guard is now averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. It does not stop there as he continues to explode with bigger games this season, dropping multiple 20-5-5 games in March alone. This says a lot about how he is willing the Chicago Bulls to come up with a rapid run in the closing stretch of the 2023-24 season, especially if they are gunning to make a guaranteed appearance in the postseason.


What makes his case even better is that he is doing all of that increased production with the likes of Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic in the same roster, which just shows how much improvement White has done in his game without affecting the rest of his team’s consistency. However, winning remains a stagnant issue for the Bulls, who need a few more to get back into the playoff mix and ensure a spot in the postseason.


Alperen Sengun - Houston Rockets


The only shining hope for the Houston Rockets’ problematic 2023-24 season is the steady growth and improvement of Alperen Sengun, who has made a huge leap in his game in just three seasons of NBA basketball. Originally one of the best picks of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sengun is now the anchor for the Rockets this season and has posted impressive stat lines of 21.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game – and his previous season stats were nowhere near that. His jump to being a talented star with similar playstyles as Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis has earned him a lot of praise and even got him engaged in All-Star talks.

Alperen Sengun image


Sengun recently dropped a career-high of 45 points last March 6th, nearly joining the 50-point club this season. In addition, he tallied 16 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists on 19-32 shooting in that massive victory against the San Antonio Spurs. Mind you, he did that against Victor Wembanyama – the 7-foot-4 phenom – and held him to just 10 points for the whole game while he stole the bright lights.


Jalen Williams - Oklahoma City Thunder


Jalen Williams image

While the big statistical jump is not going to help his case, Jalen Williams is definitely in for the MIP talks thanks to his big impact in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s run in the 2023-24 season. While it is rare for a second-year player to actually win the MIP, Williams serving as the second-scoring option for a team that has found itself in the first seed of the Western Conference shows a lot about his value and his steady improvement in the game now more than ever, and he is doing a great job of asserting his dominance in the game night in and night out. The second-best player in this OKC squad is truly astounding for a young guy like him.


Aside from earning the green light to start every fourth quarter for OKC, what Williams brings to the table is his brand of consistency. While averaging 19.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds, Jdub is bringing his game to the next level with 54% shooting from the field, including 45.3% from three. He has also been included in Clutch Player of the Year talks this season and is even dubbed the “King of the Fourth” for his steady growth and high-level scoring in the fourth quarter alone. A continued dominance for the Thunder might even aid his case for the MIP by the end of the season.


What to Expect in the Most Improved Player Award Race?


The MIP has always been reasonable in awarding players who deserve to be recognized for their growth in the league, which is why it will be hard to predict who will win right away. However, given the recent trends for the winners in the said award, it maybe Maxey’s award to lose. But then again, as the season still has a lot of games left, it means that the other candidates have a fair chance to make their case for the MIP award by the end of the campaign.


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